I thought it would be interesting to talk about creating your own art librarianship track when your program does not offer one. Many MLIS programs offer dual-degrees, certificates and specializations in various areas but unfortunately art librarianship is not always one of the options available. So, if you are not in a program that gives you the opportunity to follow a ready-made path towards art librarianship, how do you create your own? How do you pick which courses to take?
I think a good starting point is looking at the schools that do offer certificates or specializations in art librarianship to find out the kinds of classes that are included in their curriculum. The School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University in Bloomington offers a dual-degree program and a specialization for those interested in becoming an art librarian. The School of Information and Library Science at the Pratt Institute also offers a dual-degree program in Art History and Library and Information Science. By glancing over the curriculums provided for these two programs and others like them you could gain a pretty good idea of the kinds of courses you might want to considering making a part of your plan of work. Courses that seemed central to these programs included ones that covered metadata, digital libraries, and humanities reference.
It might also be worth looking into educational opportunities outside of your program that will help you on your way to becoming an art librarian. A good place to start would be with ARLIS/NA’s webinars that cover a variety of important issues in art librarianship. There are also MOOCs; Harvard’s Extension School for example offers free courses on a variety on art, humanities, and museum studies that may help to deepen your knowledge of the field.
What about you? Are you in a program that offers an art librarianship track or have you had to create your own? What kinds of courses do you think are important? Any other comments/thoughts/advice?